Many honest Christians believe that Messiah is going to come back to this earth in two ways–one being in secret, the other visible. The former will be silent in which Messiah comes to secretly rapture or remove His followers from earth before the great time of trouble and tribulation occurs. Then after several years, the visible and literal appearing of Messiah will take place in which those who were not ready during the time of the secret rapture will have a second chance to make themselves ready throughout the tribulation, after which Messiah will come to save them.
There are many Bible texts regarding the second coming of Messiah. But do any of these refer to a silent or secret return, or do they all speak about the same visible glorious event? Let us find out what the unerring Scriptures teach.
Paul reveals that the coming of Messiah to this earth will be as follows:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “Because the Master Himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of a chief messenger, and with the trumpet of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we, the living who are left over, shall be caught away together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air – and so we shall always be with the Master.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “See, I speak a secret to you: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Paul declared that when Messiah should come, there would be a shout; a voice; a trumpet; the righteous dead would be resurrected, and along with the righteous living, would be caught up from the earth to meet the Lord in the clouds never to part again.
The apostle John reveals that the coming of Jesus to this earth will be as follows:
Revelation 1:7 “See, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him. Yes, Amĕn.”
John declared that when Messiah should come, it would be with clouds, and every eye on the earth would miraculously see him, and all the kindreds of the earth who have rejected Him would wail. (The Old Testament prophets also spoke of the Coming of Messiah see Psalms 50:3-5, Jeremiah 25:30-33.) Important to note found in Amos 3:7: “For the Master יהוה (YHWH) does no matter unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
And Yeshua Himself reveals what His coming to this earth will be like:
Matthew 24:30-31 “And then the sign of the Son of Aḏam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem. And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Yeshua declared that when He returns the second time, it would be with a sign; all people on the earth would see Him coming in the clouds of heaven and with power and great glory; the great majority of all the people of the earth would not be happy, but would mourn; there would be a great sound of a trumpet; and God would gather His obedient elect to Himself from every part of the world.
All of the above Scriptures are in complete harmony with each other regarding what it will be like when Yeshua comes back to this earth in the last days. Signs will occur just prior to His arrival. Every eye on the earth, every person of every nation and tribe will see Him return in power and great glory; there will be great noise, a shout, a heavenly voice, and a great loud trumpet will sound; the righteous dead will be resurrected from their graves, and together with the living righteous will be caught up into the air to meet their Master in the clouds because they chose to sacrifice all to follow and obey Elohim. While those who had rejected Christ’s offer of salvation will be destroyed.
WHERE DID THE SECRET RAPTURE ORIGINATE?
It wasn’t until the early or mid 1800’s that there was any significant group of believers around the world that looked for a “rapture” of the Church prior to a seven-year tribulation period. The “secret rapture” teaching was NOT taught by the early Church, it was NOT taught by the Church of the first centuries, it was NOT taught by the Reformers, IT WAS NOT TAUGHT BY ANYONE (except a couple Roman Catholic theologians) UNTIL ABOUT THE YEAR 1830!
The Roman Catholic Church had to come up with a view of prophecy to counter the Historic view of prophecy that the Reformers had used to identify the Church of Rome as the ‘little horn’ and the Harlot of Revelation 17.
This new scheme of prophetic interpretation became known as FUTURISM…. It was a Jesuit priest named Ribera who, in the days of the Reformation, first taught that all the events in the book of Revelation were to take place literally during the three and a half years reign of the Antichrist away down at the end of the age.
Later, Emmanuel Lacunza, also a Jesuit priest, built on Ribera’s teachings, and spent much of his life writing a book titled “The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty.” Lacunza, however, wrote under the assumed name of “Rabbi Ben Ezra,” supposedly a learned Jew who had accepted Christ as his Saviour; he did this so that the unsuspecting Protestants would accept his book; for the Protestant world then wanted nothing from a Jesuit. His book was published in 1812.
Now enter the name of Edward Irving. Born in Scotland in 1792, Irving discovered Lacunza’s book and fell in love with it, translated it into English, and it was published in London in 1827. Then Irving began to hold Bible Conferences throughout Scotland, emphasizing the coming of Jesus to rapture His Church.
Later, J.N. Darby then was introduced to the “secret rapture” doctrine by the Irvinites (Followers of Edward Irvin), as well as the famous book by Rabbi Ben-Ezra [Jesuit priest Emmanuel Lacunza]! Darby was himself a prolific writer and from that time a constant stream of propaganda came from his pen. His writings on biblical subjects number over 30 volumes of 600 pages each. Darby developed and organized “futurism” into a system of prophetic teaching called “dispensationalism.”
The Secret Rapture teaching was introduced into the United States and Canada between the 1840’s and 1870’s. A Congregationalist preacher by the name of C. I. Scofield came under the influence of Darby and the Plymouth Brethren. Scofield became a strong promoter of the teaching that had been promulgated by Darby, whom he considered “the most profound Bible student of modern times.” He incorporated this teaching into his SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE. Three million copies were published in the first 50 years! Through this Bible Scofield shrewdly carried the teaching of the Secret Rapture into the very heart of Evangelicalism.
There is one final link in the chain of the development and spread of the rapture theory that should be mentioned in passing. Scofield and Darby influenced D. L. Moody, and Moody influenced the early PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT. How? you ask. The Assemblies of God is today by far the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. In 1914 they ordered their Sunday School and study materials from the Moody Press. So the Assemblies of God believed what the Moody Bible Institute taught, which included the “Secret Rapture”.
ONE TAKEN ONE LEFT BEHIND?
But what about those Scriptures which talk of one being taken and the other being left behind (see Matthew 24:37-41); surely this backs up the belief in a secret rapture?
Matthew 24:37-39 “And as the days of Noaḥ, so also shall the coming of the Son of Aḏam be. For as they were in the days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noaḥ entered into the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also shall the coming of the Son of Aḏam be.”
Now in the days of Noah, who was taken and who were left? The wicked were taken and the righteous were left.
He represented this also in Luke 17:35-36, “Two shall be grinding together, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left. Two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left.”
Now some teach that those who are left will remain alive and experience 7 years of tribulation. In truth it is those who are taken that are receiving the “trouble”. Those who are ‘taken’ are those who are not prepared to meet the Lord when he comes, and they are taken in death, just like the wicked were taken in death when the flood came.
The Apostles asked Yeshua where would those who were taken be?
And they answering, said to Him, “Where, Master?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the eagles shall be gathered together.” Luke 17:37.
Here Yeshua is clearly teaching that those who are taken, will be DEAD. Their bodies will be food for the birds.
Revelation chapter 19 depicts in graphic detail the return of Messiah, with Him calling for the birds of the air to “Come and gather together for the supper of the great Elohim, to eat the flesh of sovereigns, and the flesh of commanders, and the flesh of strong ones, and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” Revelation 19:17-18.
When the Master returns who will be removed from the earth, the wicked or the righteous? Matthew 13:41-43 “The Son of Aḏam shall send out His messengers, and they shall gather out of His reign all the stumbling-blocks, and those doing lawlessness, and shall throw them into the furnace of fire – there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the reign of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Also see Matthew 13:49).
Proverbs 10:29-30 “The way of יהוה is a stronghold for the perfect, But ruin to the workers of wickedness. The righteous is never shaken, While the wrong shall not dwell in the earth.”
Proverbs 2:21-22 “For the straight shall dwell in the earth, And the perfect be left in it;But the wrong shall be cut off from the earth, And the treacherous ones plucked out of it.”
Isaiah 45:18 “For thus said יהוה, Creator of the heavens, He is Elohim, Former of earth and its Maker, He established it, He did not create it to be empty, He formed it to be inhabited: “I am יהוה, and there is none else.” (Also see Matthew 5:5, Psalms 115:16)
But what about the belief that Messiah would rapture all of His people off the earth before the time of trouble, tribulation, persecution, and the working of Satan with lying wonders?
The prophet Daniel declared that “…And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book, and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth wake up, some to everlasting life, and some to reproaches, everlasting abhorrence. ” Daniel 12:1-2
The apostle John declared that YHWH’s righteous people who were living when Messiah returned to earth would be those “…These are those coming out of the great distress, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14.
Matthew 24:29-31 “And immediately after the distress of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Aḏam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem. And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Did Yeshua ask his Father to take us out of the world? Yeshua Himself prayed that His Father would not take His people “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the wicked one.” John 17:15.
Will the return of Messiah happen before or after the revealing of Anti-Messiah?
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one deceive you in any way, because the falling away is to come first, and the man of lawlessness is to be revealed, the son of destruction,”
The Bible teaches us that those who think the Rapture will occur before the man of sin is revealed, are deceived. That day will not happen until the man of sin is come to power, and the great tribulation has come upon the earth.
2 Thessalonians 2:4-6 “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is worshipped, so that he sits as Elohim in the Dwelling Place of Elohim, showing himself that he is Elohim. Do you not remember that I told you this while I was still with you? And now you know what restrains, for him to be revealed in his time.”
Why would Paul warn the believers in this verse if they were supposed to be raptured up beforehand anyway?
2 Thessalonians 2:8 “And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Master shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and bring to naught with the manifestation of His coming.”
Here we see the wicked one is revealed, and THEN the Messiah comes. Notice the coming of Yeshua destroys the man of sin! Did you notice? It does not mention 7 years, and it doesn’t mention anything about it being a “secret” rapture either.
Those who teach the lie of a pre-tribulation rapture, also teaches that during the ‘tribulation period’ while the saints are in heaven, there will be many people ‘born again’, and saved. Now this is truly a contradiction of terms. These teachers tell us that when the Church is removed, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is removed. Now if there is no preachers here, no convicting Spirit, how can anyone be saved???
What this false doctrine does is:
#1. It makes the Church unprepared for the time of trouble that it must enter.
#2. It teaches the sinful world that they can reject Messiah, until all the Christians disappear, then they can accept his salvation.
But as we have seen, Those who have rejected Yeshua, will be destroyed when He comes.
Those ‘virgins’ who come knocking after the door is closed will be shut out! (Mat 25)
Yeshua taught that his coming is about as secret as a Nuclear bomb!
Luke 17:22 -27 “And He said to the taught ones, “Days shall come when you shall long to see one of the days of the Son of Aḏam, but you shall not see it. And they shall say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them, nor follow. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Aḏam shall be in His day. But first He has to suffer much and be rejected by this generation. And as it came to be in the days of Noaḥ, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of Aḏam: They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noaḥ went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
“Just like in Noah’s time?” Did Yeshua lie when He said…”So shall it be…”? Don’t these verses seem a bit obvious? The ones in the ark were SAVED. The ones that decided to ignore the warnings were DESTROYED. And they were destroyed UNEXPECTEDLY! For it says they “did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.”
The pre-tribulation preachers are bluntly stating YESHUA LIED! Are they not? Is it any wonder some of them choose not to mention this passage “in context” from their pulpits? Common sense, it proves they are lying.
Luke 21:25-28 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and moon, and stars, and on the earth anxiety of nations, in bewilderment at the roaring of the sea, and agitation, men fainting from fear and the expectation of what is coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming in a cloud with power and much esteem. And when these matters begin to take place, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.“
Yeshua redeemed us on the cross, He is going to receive those that are His when he returns. He tells us when He comes to receive us it will be visible, and He tells us to LOOK UP! Which is completely contrary to logic, if there is a ‘secret rapture’.
SAVED FROM WRATH?
Some of the pretribulation preachers use the following verse to ‘justify’ their secret rapture doctrine.
Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been declared right by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9 “Because Elohim did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain deliverance through our Master יהושע Messiah,”
First the great tribulation is NOT the wrath of YHWH. It is really the WRATH of Satan upon His people.
Revelation 12:12-13 “Because of this rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has little time. And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.”
The wrath of GOD is contained in 7 Vials. Which is poured out upon the wicked at the time of Yeshua’s coming.
Revelation 15:7 “And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven messengers seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of Elohim who lives forever and ever.”
Now some teach that we must be ‘raptured up’ so that we will not suffer from the wrath of YHWH. But that is not the teaching of the Bible.
The Bible teaches that YHWH knows those who are His. He has sealed His people with the Holy Spirit of promise, He has purchased them, they are His servants and His name is upon their foreheads. And they are protected from His wrath.
Revelation 9:4 “And it was said to them that they shall not harm the grass of the earth, or any green matter, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of Elohim upon their foreheads.”
Just as the Jews were protected from the wrath that was poured out upon Egypt. Not by being ‘raptured’ off, but by having the blood applied, so do we.
Exodus 12:13 “And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and let the plague not come on you to destroy you when I smite the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt).”
Elohim protected His own in the Old testament, and He promises to protect the that are His as well! And BOTH sets of believers show their faith by the BLOOD of Yeshua! The Old Testament believers had the blood of a Lamb upon the doorposts of their houses, we have the Blood of the Lamb upon the heart! Praise Yahweh Elohim for His truth being so blunt and powerful even in the most graphic examples!
MORE ABOUT THE THIEF IN THE NIGHT SYMBOLISM
This next passage has to do with the “thief in the night” analogy that I spoke of earlier. ALL of the pre-trib preachers use the following passage to confirm and or validate their SECRET rapture theories. They will always do the following, they will read to you…
1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For you yourselves know very well that the day of יהוה comes as a thief in the night..”
AND THEN THEY STOP!
Some refuse to read further, and rightly so. For if they read further a multitude of problems arise! For example, look a the next verse..
1 Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then suddenly destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape.”
Again the “Thief” in the night symbolism, means UNEXPECTED, not SECRET (Also see 2nd Peter 3:9-10 to see how the analogy of the thief means unexpected not secret.) And notice that this coming brings SUDDEN DESTRUCTION UPON THE WICKED. This again proves the pre-tribulation theory FALSE!
1 Thessalonians 5:4 “But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
The “Secret rapture” preachers use the verses above this passage (verse 2) to say Yeshua comes as a thief in the night for their followers. But this verse (verse 4) proves they are bold faced liars. This verse is plain! It says clearly that Yeshua does NOT come as a thief in the night to rapture Christians! And why doesn’t the Christian have to worry about Yeshua coming as a thief to them?
1 Thessalonians 5:5,6 “For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. So, then, we should not sleep, as others do, but we should watch and be sober.”
The pre-trib preachers declare Messiah comes as a THIEF in the night, and they define that event as being “in secret.” However, the Bible says His people will NOT have Yeshua coming to us as a thief. And the the Bible explains why. It’s because we are “looking up” or “looking for” that great day.
NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY!
Think about this as well. If the seven, or three and half year theory were fact, then we would have to remove verse Matthew 24:36 from the Bible along with other references to the fact that. It PLAINLY says… “But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only.” The reason being, if the Christians all of a sudden disappear from the face of the earth on a certain day, all one needs do is calculate three and a half years forward, or seven years forward to get the exact day and hour that Yeshua would return! No, we will not know the exact day or hour or years in advance! That is an out and out lie!
A PROPHETIC TWIST ON DANIEL 9
This seven year tribulation theory actually originates from a mis-understanding, or a deliberate re-writing of the prophecy in the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel. Many take this prophecy out of context to explain a seven year,(Pre-Trib) or three and a half year, (Mid-Trib) time of great tribulation for the Christian believer. However, you will find by studying this prophecy that it does not speak of a time of tribulation at all. In fact, it speaks of a time that all believers both Old and New Testament alike hold very dear to their hearts. It is the prophecy that describes the coming of Yeshua as the Messiah in 27AD, his death in 31 AD, and the Gospel going to the Gentiles in 34 AD.
It is sad that ‘pre-tribulation rapture preachers’, take the ‘he’ in Daniel 9:27, and say it is anti-christ, when it refers to messiah Yeshua. Who confirmed the covenant of promises to the Jews by both his Preaching and the Apostles (Romans 15:8). Who by his death, caused the significance of animal sacrifices for sin to cease? In fact the veil that separated the inner rooms of the temple was ripped in two at His death.